IT firms struggling to fully identify skills gap, reveals new CompTIA report

The skills shortfall is most acutely felt in emerging technology, such as AI, automation, IoT.
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Despite the chronic IT skills gap, only four in 10 firms have a strategy in place to address the challenge and more than half (55%) struggle to even fully identify skills gaps among their workforce.

That’s according to a new report from tech industry trade association CompTIA, which spoke to over 550 UK professionals about the subject.

CompTIA found that currently, 50% of large firms and 44% of small firms report a growing skills gap, with the findings indicating that the leading impacts of the skills gap are lower productivity (41%), reduced innovation (40%) and lower sales and profitability (35%).

The report also revealed that the impact of the skills gap isn’t isolated to IT functions alone. As roles adapt and cross-over between functions increase, additional skills gap challenges arise. For example, an IT manager working in the healthcare industry might need to deal with GDPR issues for marketing campaigns.

The report suggested that the skills shortfall is most acutely felt (60%) in emerging technology – such as AI, automation, IoT – followed by cybersecurity (56%) and integrating different applications, data sources and devices (56%). This is particularly concerning as these technologies become increasingly prevalent in business and wider society, with internet-enabled devices becoming standard, and huge data breaches now a daily occurrence.

However, CompTIA warns that traditional IT functions such as cloud, IT support and administration remain a significant concern and should not be neglected in a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

“While emerging technology ranks top of skills gap areas within IT, it’s important to highlight that this is likely to have a smaller impact on companies’ bottom lines than skills gaps in the more established areas of technology such as cybersecurity, cloud and IT management that support core business functions,” said Tim Herbert, Senior Vice President, Research & Market Intelligence at CompTIA.

“While there are fewer people skilled in emerging technology, it doesn’t have as significant an impact on businesses, and upskilling core and foundational IT skills is still the priority.”

Unsurprisingly, Brexit also remains a concern. Of the eight in 10 UK managers who expect that Brexit will have at least some negative impact on the tech workforce, more than half anticipate it being more difficult to attract/hire international tech talent. Another 44% foresee potential loss of tech sector competitiveness over time as a further possible negative impact.

“UK businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of IT skills, particularly around emerging technologies and cybersecurity,” said Graham Hunter, VP EMEA at CompTIA.

“It’s essential that we as an industry work to improve the pipeline of talent entering the workforce, starting with the education system and into the workplace with on-the-job training through programmes like apprenticeship schemes.”

Download a free copy of CompTIA’s full report here.

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